Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Tell if Your Character is a Mary Sue

Oh no! You might have done it! Your MC is so interesting, so well-liked and so pretty. But, could she actually be... dun dun dun... you? Here's how to tell:
  • Is your character extraordinarily lucky? Does the perfect man show up at her place of employment and immediately fall in love with her over their shared love of cheese fries and mustard? Does a music producer overhear her singing to her little sister at the playground and offer her a contract on the spot? Does Johnny Depp fall in love with her after seeing her facebook profile? Warning... Marysuesville

  • Does she achieve her goals with little to no effort? Does she learn kung fu without breaking a sweat, then use it to incapacitate the arch villain? Does she know the exact method for hacking into a super computer, without exhibiting any of those common, pesky, nerd traits? Is she a perfect kisser on her first try? Oh, wait. What's that sign? Entering Marysuesville.

  • Is she naively unaware of her own beauty? Is she so drop dead gorgeous that everyone knows it except for her? Do you make sure that your reader is darn aware of how stunning she is? Even when she hasn't showered in a few days? Hmmmm...
*evil chuckle*
Hey, I'm not perfect. I took the Mary Sue Litmus Test and was surprised to get a much higher score than expected. Hopefully the fact that my character is so judgemental and short-tempered will save her from full residency in Marysuesville. That and all the crap I put her through. But, there might be a few aspects of my story for me to examine.
What about you? Have you ever gone about writing a perfectly normal story, just to find that creepy ole Mary Sue snuck her way in? Did you take the test and get a higher score than you thought you would? Or, am I just a bum and the rest of you awesome writers? ;) What other characteristics define a Mary Sue?


  1. Yep, I've done the Mary Sue thing and not known it! Now I'm a bit more careful.

  2. It's difficult not to drift into Mary-Sueville, especially if you've got an intricate plot. But it's awful to read.

  3. w00t! I took the test and my MC got a -1. She's so non-mary sue she's in the negatives. Granted, I've written mary sues before and learned my lesson. :-)

  4. Proving again not to take any quiz you find on the internet too seriously... I tried a different litmus test and got a 1. Stop messing with my emotions, internet!

  5. From your description, my poor MC is the opposite of a MarySue. She has issues, and I just hope I've finally made her likeable enough. Or at least, that the reader understands why she does what she does.